Saints as the 'Living Gospel': Von Balthasar's Revealers of the Revealer, Rahner's Mediators of the Mediator

Heythrop Journal 55 (2):270-285 (2014)
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Abstract

The theologies of the saints of Hans Urs Von Balthasar and Karl Rahner are grounded in the theologians' distinct articulations of the relationship between nature and grace, Rahner's shaped by his response to the Nouvelle Théologie and Von Balthasar's influenced by his engagement with Henri De Lubac and Karl Barth. It is a generalization, but one useful for drawing contrasts, that for Rahner the saints are mediators of the Mediator and that for Von Balthasar they are revealers of the Revealer. While the theologies can be reconciled, a richer understanding of the function of saints can emerge by maintaining the contrasts. The symbolic capacity of saints in Rahner's thought and the saints' exemplary abandonment to personal mission in Von Balthasar's thought are each an emphasis valuable in communicating saints' instructional and efficacious presence for others in the ecclesial Body

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